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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2017 Dec;97(6):1673-1678. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.17-0051. Epub 2017 Sep 28.

Development and Evaluation of a Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification Assay for the Detection of Treponema pallidum DNA in the Peripheral Blood of Secondary Syphilis Patients.

Xiao Y1,2,3,4, Xie Y2,4,1,3, Xu M4,2,1, Liu S5, Jiang C4,2,1, Zhao F4,2,1, Zeng T4,2,1, Liu Z3, Yu J6, Wu Y4,1,2.

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Institute of Pathogenic Biology Institute, Medical College, University of South China, Hengyang, China.
Hunan Province Cooperative Innovation Center for Molecular Targeted New Drug Study, Hengyang, China.
Department of Clinical Laboratory, The Second Affiliated Hospital of University of South China, Hengyang, China.
Hunan Provincial Key Laboratory for Special Pathogen Prevention and Control, Hengyang, China.
Department of Clinical Laboratory, The First Affiliated Hospital of University of South China, Hengyang, China.
Department of Experimental Zoology, Medical College, University of South China, Hengyang, China.


Secondary syphilis (SS) has always been puzzling for the clinicians because of the similarity of the appearance of skin rashes with other dermatoses. Serological assays are useful, but less sensitive at an early stage of SS or when patients are immunodeficient. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop a rapid and effective tool for the diagnosis of SS, which may play an important role in the control of epidemic syphilis outbreaks. In this study, we evaluated a loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay, targeting gene encoding the basic membrane protein of Treponema pallidum, to detect the presence of circulating T. pallidum DNA in the blood of SS patients. The specificity of LAMP was validated using three strains of Spirochaetales and six common clinical bacteria. The clinical applicability of LAMP assay was assessed using 642 blood samples from clinically suspected SS patients and 80 samples from healthy blood donors, showing a sensitivity of 82.1% and a specificity of 100.0% in the diagnosis of SS. Thus, our results indicate that the LAMP can be used as a supplementary method for the diagnosis of SS.

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